The interaction between art and video games might seem obvious since popular video games now have dedicated exhibitions in museums, as in the case of “Game Story” displayed at the Grand Palais in 2011 or “Design / Play / Disrupt” showcased at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2019. However, before this wave of institutional recognition during the 2010s (Colville, 2016; Ter Minassian, 2012), there were already connections between artistic practices and popular entertainment. Even if contemporary art is a multifaceted movement and difficult to define, the concept of experimentation, the aestheticization of everyday life, and the use of new materials are prevalent components (Millet, 2009). Continue Reading
Within the last twenty years, the discussion around whether videogames are art has been in a state of rapid flux, with prominent debates focusing on topics of cultural legitimation and identifying relations to various historical avant-garde movements. Many of these conversations have relied on positioning videogames as a novel medium which needs to be both defined and defended, often in relation to other media forms with longer, established histories such as film and literature. As Aubrey Anable (2018) states, throughout much of gaming history a common assumption about what obstructed videogames from achieving the status of fine art was their apparent inability to “affect our feelings” with the recurring question as to whether or not they can make us cry (location 34). Continue Reading
Alejandro Lozano: Before getting into details, let’s start with a definitional question. What is your concept of aesthetic and how do you apply it to games when you connect them to art?
John Sharp: Aesthetics means a lot of things. It can refer to having your fingernails painted or to the visual appearance in visual arts. If you talk about it with animation students, they will talk about the aesthetics of a film and what they mean is the visual style. That is one part of aesthetics, but to me, aesthetics is the evaluation of experience and the value of a work of art. By extension that means some philosophical framework underlying and serving as a guide for both the way you focus your attention during the experience and also the things you value and the things you do not. Continue Reading